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List of agnostics

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Thomas Henry Huxley

Thomas Huxley, coiner of the term agnostic.

Listed here are persons who have identified themselves as agnostics. Also included are those who have expressed the view that it is unknown or inherently unknowable whether any gods exist.



"Being an agnostic means all things are possible, even God, even the Holy Trinity. This world is so strange that anything may happen, or may not happen. Being an agnostic makes me live in a larger, a more fantastic kind of world, almost uncanny. It makes me more tolerant."
"Most students ... wish to know whether I believe in the existence of God or in immortality, and if so why. They regard it impossible to leave these matters unsettled – or at least extremely detrimental to religion not to have the basis of such conviction. Now for my part I do not find it impossible to leave them open.... I can describe myself as no ardent theist or atheist."


Entertainment, broadcast media, and the arts


  • Fred Edwords (1948–) longtime Humanist activist, Currently director of communications and director of planned giving for the American Humanist Association.[40]
  • Karl R. Popper, philosopher of science, who described his philosophy as critical rationalism, and promoted falsifiability as a necessary criterion of empirical statements in science.[41]
  • Protagoras, (d.420 BCE), Greek Sophist and first major Humanist, who wrote that the existence of the gods was unknowable.[42]
  • Bertrand Russell, (1872-1970), English philosopher and mathematician, who considered himself a philosophical agnostic, but said that the label "atheist" conveyed a more accurate impression to "the ordinary man in the street".[43]
  • Michael Schmidt-Salomon (1967–): German philosopher, author and former editor of MIZ (Contemporary Materials and Information: Political magazine for atheists and the irreligious).[44] Schmidt-Salomon has specified that he is not a "pure atheist, but actually an agnostic."[45]
  • Anthony Kenny (1931–), president of Royal Institute of Philosophy, wrote in his essay Why I'm not an atheist after justifying his agnostic position that "a claim to knowledge needs to be substantiated; ignorance need only be confessed."[46]
  • James Hall (1933–) describes himself as an agnostic episcopalian. He says that he finds great beauty in the religious tradition, but is reluctant to "sign the dotted line" and agreeing with all theological doctrines.[47]

Politics and law

Science and technology

See also

External links

Notes and references

  1. I. Shenker (1971-04-06). "Borges, a Blind Writer With Insight". New York Times. 
  2. Henry Cadbury, "My Personal Religion", republished on the Quaker Universalist Fellowship website.
  3. "Q&A: Bart Ehrman: Misquoting Jesus". Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  4. V.Bernet (2008-04-23). "Agnostic's questions have biblical answers". Kansas City Star. "In the church of his youth in Lawrence, Kansas, with nearly every pew at capacity last week, Bart D. Ehrman, chairman of the department of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, announced that he was an agnostic. He joked that atheists think agnostics are wimpy atheists and that agnostics think atheists are arrogant agnostics." 
  5. S.Winchester (2003). The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. "[...] Furnivall was a deeply committed socialist and (until his later agnosticism set in), a somewhat enthusiastic Christian [...]" 
  6. During an interview on his book The Year of Living Biblically with George Stroumboulopoulos on the CBC Program 'The Hour' Jacobs states "I'm still an agnostic, I don't know whether there's a god."[1]
  7. "When asked what he would do if on his death he found himself facing the twelve apostles, the agnostic Mencken answered, "I would simply say, 'Gentlemen, I was mistaken.'"" American Experience; Monkey Trial; People & Events: The Jazz Age, PBS Online, 1999-2001. Retrieved 28 July 2007.
  8. CBC News reports that Templeton "eventually abandoned the pulpit and became an agnostic." Journalist, evangelist Charles Templeton dies
  9. "In one of our walks about Hartford, when he was in the first fine flush of his agnosticism, he declared that Christianity had done nothing to improve morals and conditions..." William Dean Howells, My Mark Twain [2].
  10. "William Dean Howells and Mark Twain had much in common. They were agnostic but compassionate of the plight of man in an indifferent world..." Darrel Abel (2002), Classic Authors of the Gilded Age, iUniverse, ISBN 0-595-23497-6
  11. "At the most, Mark Twain was a mild agnostic, usually he seems to have been an amused Deist. Yet, at this late date his own daughter has refused to allow his comments on religion to be published." Kenneth Rexroth, "Humor in a Tough Age;" The Nation, March 7, 1959. [3]
  12. "Warraq, 60, describes himself now as an agnostic..." Dissident voices, World Magazine, June 16, 2007, Vol. 22, No. 22.
  13. Wilson explains that he is agnostic about everything in the preface to his book Cosmic Trigger.
  14. The Herald, "Why did this "saint" fail to act on sinners within his flock?", Anne Simpson, May 26, 2007
  15. Faces of the New Atheism: The Scribe, by Nicholas Thompson, Wired Magazine, Issue 14.11, November 2006 (Accessed 30 November 2006).
  16. Washington Times, 2009-08-02
  17. Interview with Penn Jillette in which he mentions his agnosticism.
  18. INTERVIEW: Padre, Padre: Mexico's Native Son Gael Garcia Bernal Stars in the Controversial "The Crime of Father Amaro"
  19. Zac Efron & Nikki Blonsky's Secret Off Screen Romance? By Tina Sims, The National Ledger, August 1, 2007 (Retrieved 25 March 2008)
  20. "I was raised agnostic, so we never practiced religion..." "Zac Efron - the new American hearthrob," Strauss, Neil Rolling Stone, August 23, 2007, p. 43.
  21. Smith, Warren Allen (October 25, 2000). Who's Who in Hell. Barricade Books. ISBN 1-56980-158-4. "I would describe myself as an enthusiastic agnostic who would be happy to be shown that there is a God." 
  22. In response to the question "Do you believe in God?", Fox said "I would love to, but I wonder sometimes what he believes in. Religion seems to have been created by man to help and guide humankind. I've no idea, really.""Analyse this: Inside the mind of actress Emilia Fox". 
  23. See "Sidelines" section of Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 19, Number 3, which references a quote from New York Times Magazine, 12-27-98.
  24. "He [Humphrys] went looking for God and ended up an angry agnostic – unable to believe but enraged by the arrogance of militant atheists." In God we doubt, John Humphrys The Sunday Times, September 2, 2007 (Accessed 1 April 2008)
  25. "When we got married, I said, 'Look, since I'm agnostic, I have no right to tell you not to teach them what you believe. But give them an opening.' So if they ever ask me, I'd tell them the same thing I'm telling you: 'I don't buy that God, I don't know if there's an afterlife.' Pogrebin, Abigail (2005). Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish. New York: Broadway. pp. 318–322. ISBN 978-0-7679-1612-7. 
  26. I. Harb and M. Košir (2009-11-20). "Slovenci niso pobijali tjulnjev, ampak sami sebe (interview with Janez Lapajne)". Delo - priloga Vikend - Lapajne said: "Najprej, ne želim pripadati nobeni ideološki skupini, kar je za agnostika verjetno razumljivo.". 
  27. "The closest word I’ve found to describe [my] belief system is Pantheism, but I could also call myself an agnostic (because I don’t claim to know if my own conception of divinity is ultimately true) or an atheist (because I believe that religions based around personified deities are definitely not true)." — The Universe According to Lynx (June 30, 2007), Soundtrack for Insurrection, Retrieved October 21, 2007.
  28. Maher said "I'm not convinced that God exists. But I do allow the possibility. I'm not an atheist. I'm open... My view on spirituality is I don't know. I never will as long as I'm alive. So why waste time dwelling on something I can never know?" See Transcript from Larry King Live - August 11, 2005.
  29. "'It would be safe to say that I'm agnostic,' Matthews says. 'However, I do feel as though we owe a faith to the world and to ourselves. We owe a grace and gratitude to things that have brought us here. But I think it's very ignorant to say, 'Well, for everything, God has a plan.' That's like an excuse. ... Maybe the real faithful act is to commit to something, to take action, as opposed to saying, 'Well, everything is in the hand of God.'" See Boston Globe Article 'Dave Matthews Gets Serious - and Playful' by Steve Morse (March 4, 2001)
  30. Oberst said: "If I’m forced to categorize myself I guess I’d say I was an agnostic." Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes: Bright Ideas, by A. D. Amorosi, Harp magazine, May 2007. (Retrieved 15 October 2007)
  31. "I'm a linear thinking agnostic, but not an atheist folks." Peart, Neil (1996). The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa. ISBN 1-55022-667-3. 
  32. "BILD: Do you believe in God? Brad Pitt (smiling): 'No, no, no!' BILD: Is your soul spiritual? Brad Pitt: 'No, no, no! I’m probably 20 per cent atheist and 80 per cent agnostic. I don’t think anyone really knows. You'll either find out or not when you get there, until then there’s no point thinking about it.'" Brad Pitt interview: "With six kids each morning it is about surviving!" By Norbert Körzdörfer,, 23 July 2009
  33. Rooney wrote: "I call myself an agnostic, not an atheist, because in one sense atheists are like Christians or Muslims. They’re sure of themselves. A Christian says with certainty, there is a god; an atheist says with certainty, there is no god. Neither knows" Sincerely, Andy Rooney (2001), Public Affairs ISBN 1-58648-045-6
  34. Rooney said: "Why am I an atheist? I ask you: Why is anybody not an atheist? Everyone starts out being an atheist. No one is born with belief in anything. Infants are atheists until they are indoctrinated. I resent anyone pushing their religion on me. I don't push my atheism on anybody else. Live and let live. Not many people practice that when it comes to religion." Marian Christy, "Conversations: We make our own destiny", Boston Globe, 30 May 1982 (from Newsbank).
  35. Rooney said: "I am an atheist... I don't understand religion at all. I'm sure I'll offend a lot of people by saying this, but I think it's all nonsense." From a speech at Tufts University, 18 November 2004.
  36. Adrienne Shelly said: "I'm an optimistic agnostic. I'd like to believe." Rhys, Tim (August 1996), Suddenly Adrienne Shelly, MovieMaker Magazine. Accessed February 12, 2007.
  37. Stone said "...I'm Jewish simply because... my mom is Jewish... but... I grew up completely secular and completely agnostic... I am the worst Jew in the world. I know nothing about the religion. I'm completely agnostic (my poor mother)." 'South Park' Creator Matt Stone on Fighting Terrorism on NPR's program Fresh Air, 14 October 2004, (quote begins at 15:05, ends at 16:00)
  38. When asked if there was a God, Stone answered "No." Is there a God?, by Stephen Thompson, The Onion A.V. Club, October 9, 2002
  39. "Here we have a man who, while at Cambridge, was 'a most determined atheist'--those were the words of his fellow-undergraduate Bertrand Russell--and who was dismissed at the age of 25 from his post as organist in a church at South Lambeth because he refused to take Communion. Later, according to his widow, he 'drifted into a cheerful agnosticism'." The Unknown Vaughan Williams, Michael Kennedy, Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association, Vol. 99. (1972–1973), pp. 31-41.
  40. "Frederick Edwords, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association, who labels himself an agnostic..." Atheism 101, by William B. Lindley, Truth Seeker Volume 121 (1994) No. 2, (Accessed 14 April 2008)
  41. "Referring to himself as an agnostic and an advocate of critical realism, Popper gained an early reputation as the chief exponent of the principle of falsification rather than verification." Karl Popper: philosopher of critical realism, by Joe Barnhart, The Humanist magazine, July-August 1996. (Accessed 13 October 2006)
  42. Only fragments of Protagoras' treatise On the Gods survive, but it opens with the sentence: "Concerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not or of what sort they may be. Many things prevent knowledge including the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of human life."
  43. Russell said: "As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one prove that there is not a God. On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist... None of us would seriously consider the possibility that all the gods of Homer really exist, and yet if you were to set to work to give a logical demonstration that Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, and the rest of them did not exist you would find it an awful job. You could not get such proof. Therefore, in regard to the Olympic gods, speaking to a purely philosophical audience, I would say that I am an Agnostic. But speaking popularly, I think that all of us would say in regard to those gods that we were Atheists. In regard to the Christian God, I should, I think, take exactly the same line." Am I an Agnostic or an Atheist?, from Last Philosophical Testament 1943–1968, (1997) Routledge ISBN 0-415-09409-7. Russell was chosen by LOOK magazine to speak for agnostics in their well-known series explaining the religions of the U.S., and authored the essay "What Is An Agnostic?" which appeared November 3, 1953 in that magazine.
  44. MIZ title in German: Materialien und Informationen zur Zeit (MIZ) (Untertitel: Politisches Magazin für Konfessionslose und AtheistInnen)
  45. "Like many other so-called "Atheists" I am also not a pure atheist, but actually an agnostic..." Life without God: A decision for the people (Automatic Google translation of the original, hosted at Schmidt-Salomon's website), by Michael Schmidt-Salomon 19 November 1996, first published in: Education and Criticism: Journal of Humanistic Philosophy and Free Thinking January 1997 (Accessed 1 April 2008)
  46. Kenny, Anthony (2006). "Why I'm not an atheist". What I Believe. Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-8971-0. 
  47. James Hall. Philosophy of Religion: Lecture 3. [DVD]. The Teaching Company. 
  48. Bachelet said "I am a woman, socialist, separated and agnostic." See Newsweek article An Unlikely Pioneer.
  49. Do you believe in him now, Helen?
  50. Agenda
  51. Darrow wrote "I am an agnostic as to the question of God." See Why I Am An Agnostic.
  52. (Dutch) Agnosticisme of atheïsme
  53. Wiener Zeitung, published July 8, 2004 (German). "The agnostic Fischer is married for 35 years with Margit." (Translation by PROMT Online Translator).
  54. The scream is not a vehicle of ideas (In Spanish. See also: English translation by PROMT Online Translator. Accessed 13 October 2006.)
  55. Blanche d'Alpuget, Robert J. Hawke, 87
  56. Ingersoll said that "It seems to me that the man who knows the limitations of the mind, who gives the proper value to human testimony, is necessarily an Agnostic." Why Am I Agnostic?, Robert Green Ingersoll, 1889. See also Ingersoll's complete works, which includes many speeches and writings on religion and agnosticism.
  57. Chile Moves On, Mark Falcoff, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, April 1, 2000.
  58. Rockwell wrote in his autobiography "I am an agnostic, which means that to all proposals and explanations of the mysteries of life and eternity, I say, 'I do not know and I don't believe you or any other human does either.'" This Time the World, chapter 3, George Lincoln Rockwell, ISBN 1-59364-014-5
  59. "The country's Left-leaning Prime Minister, a self-declared agnostic, became a bête noire of the Catholic Church during his first term in office by legalising same-sex marriage, introducing fast-track divorce and allowing embryonic stem-cell research." [4]
  60. Interview with Simon Mayo, BBC Radio Five Live, 2 December 2005.
  61. Francis Crick, What Mad Pursuit: a Personal View of Scientific Discovery, Basic Books reprint edition, 1990, ISBN 0-465-09138-5, p. 145.
  62. Reid, Robert William (1974). Marie Curie. London: Collins. pp. 19. ISBN 0-00-211539-5. "Unusually at such an early age, she became what T. H. Huxley had just invented a word for: agnostic." 
  63. Darwin wrote: "my judgment often fluctuates... In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an Atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. I think that generally (and more and more as I grow older), but not always, that an Agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind." The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Ch. VIII, p. 274. New York, D. Appleton & Co., 1905. See Charles Darwin's views on religion
  64. On Durkheim, Larry R. Ridener, referencing a book by Lewis A. Coser, wrote: "Shortly after his traditional Jewish confirmation at the age of thirteen, Durkheim, under the influence of a Catholic woman teacher, had a shortlived mystical experience that led to an interest in Catholicism. But soon afterwards he turned away from all religious involvement, though emphatically not from interest in religious phenomena, and became an agnostic." See Ridener's page on famous dead sociologists. See also Coser's book: Masters of Sociological Thought: Ideas in Historical and Social Context, 2nd Ed., Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1977: 143-144
  65. "My position concerning God is that of an agnostic." Albert Einstein in a letter to M. Berkowitz, October 25, 1950; Einstein Archive 59-215; from Alice Calaprice, ed., The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, 2000, p. 216. As quoted at (Accessed 20 June 2007)
  66. In correspondence with conservative Christian commentator John Lofton, Milton Friedman wrote: "I am an agnostic. I do not ‘believe in’ God, but I am not an atheist, because I believe the statement, ‘There is a god’ does not admit of being either confirmed or rejected." An Exchange: My Correspondence With Milton Friedman About God, Economics, Evolution And "Values", by John Lofton, The American View, October-December 2006, (Accessed 12 January 2007)
  67. "...I certainly felt bemused by the anomaly of my role as a Jewish agnostic, trying to reassure a group of Catholic priests that evolution remained both true and entirely consistent with religious belief." Nonoverlapping Magisteria, by Stephen Jay Gould, Natural History 106 (March 1997): 16-22; Reprinted from Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms, New York: Harmony Books, 1998, pp. 269-283.
  68. "Every variety of philosophical and theological opinion was represented there, and expressed itself with entire openness; most of my colleagues were ists of one sort or another; and, however kind and friendly they might be, I, the man without a rag of a label to cover himself with, could not fail to have some of the uneasy feelings which must have beset the historical fox when, after leaving the trap in which his tail remained, he presented himself to his normally elongated companions. So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of agnostic.'" Part 2 - Agnosticism, by T.H. Huxley, from Christianity and Agnosticism: A Controversy, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1889. Hosted at the Secular Web. (Accessed 5 April 2008)
  69. Erik Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn: The Cultural Background of Ludwig von Mises
  70. Morris, Edward (January 2003). "Finding the father inside". BookPage. Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  71. "I gradually slipped away from religion over several years and became an atheist or to be more philosophically correct, a sceptical agnostic." Nurse's autobiography at
  72. "Today, I consider myself, in Thomas Huxley’s terms, an agnostic. I don’t know whether there is a God or creator, or whatever we may call a higher intelligence or being. I don’t know whether there is an ultimate reason for our being or whether there is anything beyond material phenomena. I may doubt these things as a scientist, as we cannot prove them scientifically, but at the same time we also cannot falsify (disprove) them. For the same reasons, I cannot deny God with certainty, which would make me an atheist. This is a conclusion reached by many scientists." George Olah, A Life of Magic Chemistry
  73. "Famed scientist Carl Sagan was also a renowned sceptic and agnostic who during his life refused to believe in anything unless there was physical evidence to support it." "Unbeliever's Quest" by Jerry Adler, in Newsweek, March 31, 1997. Excerpt hosted at HighBeam Research accessed 2 November 2007.
  74. Schuster, Peter. "Interview with Peter Schuster". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 2008-04-25. "... I was a Catholic, but I no longer consider myself one. I suppose I am agnostic. Let’s put it his way -- I have difficulties with the idea of a personal God. I don’t have trouble with God as creator of the world as a whole." 
  75. Wozniak, steven. "Letters-General Questions Answered". Retrieved 2007-09-26. "... I am also atheist or agnostic (I don't even know the difference). I've never been to church and prefer to think for myself. I do believe that religions stand for good things, and that if you make irrational sacrifices for a religion, then everyone can tell that your religion is important to you and can trust that your most important inner faiths are strong." 

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at List of agnostics. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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